Stamps of Newfoundland

Before 1809 all mail to and from Newfoundland was handled through private arrangements with individuals, usually sea captains, who agreed to carry letters and packages by sea for a fee.  Since there were few roads across the island most domestic mail in Newfoundland also went by boat with delivery dependent mainly on the integrity of the ship’s captain.  On October 24, 1809 Governor John Holloway appointed Newfoundland’s first postmaster, Simon Solomon, a local watchmaker and jeweler whose job was to handle all mail to and from the colony.  At the time he was authorized to collect three cents for each letter with one cent to be paid to the Captain of any vessel delivering the mail and two cents to himself for his “trouble”.

In 1840 Great Britain issued the first adhesive postage stamp, but it was not until 1857 that Newfoundland issued its first stamp, which it continued to do so until 1949.  The last postage stamp issued was in 1947 to commemorate the 450th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland in 1497, but Postage Due stamps continued to be printed until 1949 when Newfoundland joined Canada.  The first stamps were printed by Perkins, Bacon & Co. of London, England.  Later they were printed by The American Bank Note Company, then beginning in 1880 they were printed in Montreal, with later stamps being printed by the Canadian Bank Note Co. in Ottawa.

Few countries show their entire histories in their stamps like Newfoundland. A study of the stamps of Newfoundland can reveal all the major events in the country’s history until Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949. Every major milestone in the nation’s development is featured on stamp, making these stamps unique and interesting, and were used by schools to teach history.

The earliest stamp was a Pence issue which featured a combination of the floral emblems of the three kingdoms – the rose for England, the shamrock for Ireland, and the thistle for Scotland.  The first people to appear on the stamps of were Queen Victoria together with her husband, Prince Albert, 8 years after the first stamps were issued. Forty years after the first stamps were issued, Newfoundland printed its first commemorative stamps, marking the 400th anniversary of Cabot’s’ discovery of the country in 1497. The date of the stamp issue also marked the 60th anniversary of Victoria’s coronation. The themes on the stamps were popular activities at the time—hunting and fishing, logging and mining.

A dozen Newfoundland stamps were issued in 1919 to honor soldiers and sailors from WWI with stamps following that honored the first non-stop transatlantic flight, and the first airmail stamp.

All the Newfoundland Stamps were monochromatic, that is different shades or values of the same colour or hue.  Originally they were not perforated but simply printed with a space between them so they could be individually cut from the full shwaeet with sci[1]ssors.

Historical Note on the Newfoundland Post Office

 The first postmaster of the General Post Office in St. John’s was Simon Solomon, a local watchmaker and jeweler, who was named to this post on October 24, 1809.  Mr. Solomon was authorized to collect a penny a letter to be given to any ship’s captain prepared to deliver the mail, and an additional two pence a letter for his own trouble.  After his own shop burned in 1817 he rented the premises of another watchmaker from which he continued the dual role of watchmaker and postmaster.  By1826 the building became a full time post office and when Simon died in 1839 his son William became the new postmaster.

In 1850 the Post Office moved to Market House Hill on Water St. on the third floor.  Then in 1886 a new structure was built to house the Cable & Telegraph Office and Post Office.

 Soon after Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949 plans were drawn up to remove the old structure and replace it with a modern, more efficient building that would become part of the Canadian postal system.

Pictures and Profiles of Hooked Mats

Hooked by Dianima Dove on Linen with hooked with hand-dyed wool in a 3 cut
Hooked by Diana Dove on Linen with hand-dyed wool in a #3 cut

 St. John’s Newfoundland Postage Three Pence Rose/Thistle/Shamrock – Yellow Green 

The design for Newfoundland’s first stamp issue, printed by Perkin’s, Bacon & Co. of London,   the featured a combination of the floral emblems of the three kingdoms: the rose for England, the shamrock for Ireland, and the thistle for Scotland.  The most striking of the set was the 3 pence green triangle that was used on local mail.  Each triangle was printed with its base adjacent to another so as to form squares on the sheet that were then cut apart with a knife or scissors.

Hooked by Margaret Angel on linen in Hand-dyed wool fabric in a #3 cut

Heraldic Flowers – 1857

Newfoundland’s first three stamp issues – 1857, 1860 and 1861 – were not perforated with tiny holes along their edges to separate them.  Instead they were, as were many postage stamps of that time, simply printed with a space between them so they could be individually cut from the full sheet with scissors or a roller.  These were referred to as  imperforate.

Like all the stamps of these three issues, the First Pence Issue featured a combination of the floral emblems of the three kingdoms:  the rose for England, the shamrock for Ireland, and the thistle for Scotland.  These early stamps were in sterling, the currency for the day in Newfoundland which was still part of England.  This shilling stamp was in scarlet vermillion.

Hooked by Diana Dove on Linen with hand-dyed wool flannel in a #3 cut

1497- 1897 Newfoundland Cabot – Carmine Lake

Cabot and Jubilee Issue
1897 marked the 400th Anniversary of Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland and the 60th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign.  The General Post Office announced that all other issues would be withdrawn.

The set is usually referred to as the Cabot Issue since each stamp bears the inscription “1497-1897”.

Hooked by Mary Hann, New World Island, on burlap with dyed wool fabric

1865-75 First Cents Issue
2 Cent Codfish

An act of the Legislature in 1865 required that payment for postage stamps be made using the new decimal currency.  There were two printings of the First Cents Issue:  the first on yellowish paper and the second on medium white paper.

In 1882 the 2 cent codfish was redesigned with the tail given a very pronounced split which in the view of some was far less accurate since a cod only has a minor indentation in its tail.

Mary Hann chose this stamp because it  was from the first cents issue and because of Newfoundland’s association with the fishery.

 Hooked by Mary Grant on Linen with wool flannel in a #3 cut.

Royal Issued 1897-1901

Mary Grant loves to do fine work, basically “painting with wool” working on flowers, fruit and landscapes.  Her own Celtic background has led her to work on Celtic designs as well.  She has taught Beginner courses for the Heritage Rug Hooking Guild and the College of Craft and Design in Fredericton and enjoys teaching in small groups and mentoring her students.  She has won prizes for her work at the Fredericton Exhibition.  In addition to teaching she enjoys designing mats and creating wonderful magical colours by dying wool for her projects and her courses.  Courses which she enjoys teaching include Beginning Classes, Advanced Beginner through Fine Shading, Waldoboro (sculpting), and hooking of beautiful skies.  She has written a number of articles for the Loop (RHGNS Magazine) and the newsletter of the Heritage Rug Hooking Guild of New Brunswick. 

Mary chose the Duchess of York since she was fascinated with the stamp pictures of Royalty and in particular the Duchess of York.  The 4 cent Duchess of York in violet was one of the Royal Family Series manufactured by the American Bank Note Co. NY.  The designer was R. Ostrander Smith.

Hooked by Edwina Drover on Burlap in Wool Yarn

1908 Map of Newfoundland

Early in 1908 a shipment of Royal Portrait Issue (2 cent and 5 cent) was damaged in a shipwreck off the New England Coast near Cuttyhunk Island.  Postal officials thought they had recovered all of the stamps but a quantity showed up in private hands. Prime Minister Sir Robert Bond suggested a map of the island showing the route of the Newfoundland Railway.  However a closer examination shows a poor representation of both the Great Northern and Avalon Peninsulas.  Since the stamp is in only one colour, at a glance very little distinction can be seen between the rivers and the main railway line and its branches.  The most striking omission is that nowhere is the stamp labelled “Newfoundland Railway”.  It was Bond’s intention to show the world’s investors that Newfoundland had a railway but the message was lost in the design.

Hooked by Marilyn Moore on Burlap with 100% wool yarn

1910 5 Cent View of Cupids – Blue

 For Bio see 4 Cent “Trail of the Caribou 1919”.

I chose the 1910 five cent View of Cupids which marked the 300th Anniversary of John Guy’s attempt to establish a permanent colony in Newfoundland at Cupids, Conception Bay.  It was part of the John Guy Tercentenary Issue.  The John Guy Tercentenary Issue, of which this is one of the twelve stamps were the first stamps to be lithographed, a method of printing from a metal or stone surface on which the printing areas are not raised but made ink-receptive while the non-image areas are made ink-repellent.

January 2, 1919 Trail of the Caribou Issue

In 1919 a special set of stamps were issued to commemorate the services of the Newfoundland Contingent in the World War of 1914-1918. The phrase, “Trail of the Caribou” is said to have originated with Lt. Col. Nangle, Roman Catholic Chaplain of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The badge of the Regiment consisted of the head of a caribou over a ribbon lettered “Newfoundland”. In keeping with their emblem, a design of a caribou had been selected to represent this particular issue.

Of the twelve stamps, four commemorated the work of the Naval Forces, and bore the word “Ubique”, meaning everywhere. Newfoundland’s sailors could literally be found everywhere on the sea, which would account for the fact that the colony lost more sailors than all other British Dominions and Colonies combined. The remaining eight stamps in this series each commemorate a specific engagement in which the Royal Newfoundland Regiment participated. Sulva Bay was at Gallipoli, while all the others were in France. Together these form a glorious record of the part played in the war by Britain’s oldest colony.

Hooked by Patricia Hapgood Spread Eagle, NL On Burlap with hand-dyed wool

1919 Trail of the Caribou Issue
1 cent Suvla Bay – Green

I have been hooked on hooking since about 2005 when my sister told me about a beginners course offered by Gladys Newhook. By the end of that first day I knew I would love this craft and haven’t stopped since. I have completed approximately fifty pieces since then. This stamp was probably one of the most difficult, but also most satisfying, to complete. Having lived my life as a military wife it was especially important to me to help commemorate the anniversary of the end of WW I.

“The Newfoundland Regiment landed at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli Peninsula on the night of September 19, 1915 to support the British 88th Brigade of the 29th Division.  The Regiment was awarded two Distinguished Conduct Medals and a Military Cross during the fighting at Caribou Hill.  By December 20th the British withdrew from Sulva with only 170 men in the NL Regiment remaining.

I think by recreating the stamps issued to commemorate the Trail of the Caribou battles as faught by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment is especially relevent. I knew nothing of the Battle of Suvla Bay when I chose that stamp and was amazed to discover the details.

I hope everyone enjoys the display and our attempts to help everyone remember.

Caribou Monument Gueudecourt

3 Cent Guedecourt – Red Brown

 The Woodland Caribou was the symbol of the Royal Newfoundland Royal Regiment.  In 1919 a set of twelve stamps were issued by Newfoundland to recogni\e and remember the service and sacrifice of its soldiers and sailors of World War 1.

The village of Gueudecourt lies five kilometres directly south of Bapaume and 135 kilometres north of Paris.  Here on October 12, 1916, the Newfoundland Regiment made its heroic assault during the Battle of Le Transloy, one of the major battles of the Somme.

Hooked by Dale Morgan on burlap with hand dyed wool yarn

Just north east of Gueudecourt is the Gueudecourt Newfoundland Memorial.  It marks the spot where, October 1916, the Newfoundlanders played a decisive role in the capture of a GHerman strong-point named Rainbow Trench, thus wiping out the sting of Beaumont-Hamel.

The Newfoundland Regiment suffered 239 casualties – of whom 120 had been killed or would die of wounds.  But the Regiment had been one of the few units on the whole of the Fourth Army’s Front to capture and retain an objective.  “The success,” wrote the Brigade Commander later, “was all the more gratifying as it was the only real success recorded on that day.”

Hooked by Marilyn Moore on Linen with hand-dyed wool in #4 cut

4 Cent Beaumont Hamel

 Marilyn is a retired Anglican Priest who learned to hook with Molly White in 2006.  She has since completed numerous courses and completed her Teaching Certificate through the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2012.  She is a member of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador where she displays and sells her finished rugs, as well as being a member of The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers, The Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia.  She hooked one of the scenes in the Cupids Project, and has taken first prize in several fairs and exhibitions.  She specializes in Pictorial, Stained Glass, Primitive Newfoundland Scenes, and Underwater.  In addition she also quilts, sews, tole paints and has painted with oils.

The 1919 Caribou Issue was designed to commemorate the efforts of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in World War 1.  Eight of the stamps commemorate engagements in which soldiers distinguished themselves.  These are bannered with “Trail of the Caribou”, plus the name of the Battle in the lower tablet.  Four are bannered with “Royal Naval Reserve” with the lower tablet bearing the Latin word UBIQUE, meaning that Newfoundland sailors served everywhere on the seas.   I chose the four cent Beaumont Hamel because by Grandfather fought at Beaumont Hamel but not as a Newfoundlander.  He was a member of the Black Watch of Canada which, like the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, fought at Beaumont-Hamel as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 1916.  733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed or wounded, while the total Allied casualties on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme were 57,470 of which 19,240 were fatal of a total of 750,000 troops.

Margaret Hillyard, St. John’s Hooked on burlap with hand-dyed wool yarn

6 Cent Monchy – Black-Grey

My first introduction to rug hooking was at rug school 2011.  I had never hooked a loop before, so I was pretty green.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and by the end of the weekend I was “hooked”.  I have taken a number of classes since then and I try to spend a few minutes each day working on my last project.  Not only have I learned a new craft, but I have met many new friends and enjoy the camaraderie that the hook-ins bring.

After the First World War, a series of stamps was commissioned to commemorate major battles fought by the Newfoundland Regiment.  The “Trail of the Caribou” series comprised of twelve stamps, and the Battle of Monchy was one of those stamps.

I hooked this stamp in memory of Levi John Snow, Regiment #1879.  Levi John Snow was my husband’s Great Uncle.  He was a young man service as a station agent with the Newfoundland Railway in Clarke’s Beach when he answered the call to serve King and Country.

He was mortally wounded in this battle and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France.

Submitted by:  Judy (Blackmore) Brockie Hooked by Judy Brockie on Linen with hand-dyed wool flannel and yarn

8 Cent UBIQUE – Magenta

I’ve delighted in the beauty and skill of hooking rugs since I first registered for a weekend  rug-hooking workshop at Anna Templeton Centre, in 1996.  I knew instantly that I’d pursue this traditional craft for years to come.  Since that time I’ve hooked and designed a myriad of pieces using numerous hooking techniques, all learned through various workshops, courses, and rug schools.  I humbly mention, that my work has been displayed in various exhibitions and  Devon House and in The Rooms .  Over the years I’ve progressed through the art/craft of rug-hooking from a novice to that of a teacher with the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador.

THE TRAIL OF THE CARIBOU STAMP SERIES: ( Depicted here is the eight-cent magenta, “Ubique” Caribou Stamp.)  My interest in hooking this Newfoundland Stamp was inspired by my early recollection of attending Armistice Day memorial services  in my hometown of Grand Falls (the town of Windsor was not incorporated at that time.)   The series of twelve ‘Caribou’ stamps commemorated the battles and engagements of the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, whose members’ participated widely (“Ubique”: everywhere) in military operations during the Great War of 1914-1918; many of whom were the youthful, courageous enlisted men from Grand Falls. It may be interesting to note that some of the early street names in the Central Newfoundland Town were designated to acclaim the glory of the many native sons of Grand Falls.  Such street names as Beaumont Avenue, Monchy, Haig, Péronne and Suvla Roads, Memorial Avenue, King Street were aptly named.   And yet, these century-old street-signs continue to proclaim the honour and glory of those brave, young defenders of  our freedom. 

As a Girl Guide I recall attending the solemn Veterans’ Parades, the wreath-laying ceremonies,  the roll calls  with trumpet sounding “The Last Post” on July 1st  Memorial Day (Armistice Day) during  the annual services held at the Grand Falls Memorial Grounds with its  impressive cenotaph bearing the inscription, “Their Name Liveth For Evermore.”

The Trail of the Caribou Stamp series brings to mind the honour and respect due the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and all who served their country.

Sandra Reid, Blaketown
Hooked by Sandra Reid on linen in wool yarn

15 Cent Langemarck – Dark Blue

I became interested in learning to rug hook in 2009 thanks to Gladys Newhook who started me with my first project and, on completion I was hooked.  Since then I became part of a group called Heart and Hand Matters.  We meet regularly to share ideas and in doing so inspire one another.  I have attended various workshops and taken courses to learn different techniques. I love the challenge of creating an idea or scene using different mediums such as wool yarn, wool strips, pantyhose, etc. To date I have completed 23 pieces of work.

British troops captured the village of Langemarck from the Germans in the Third Battle of Ypres.  Many hundreds of thousands of lives were lost on both sides.  This battle was one of the most costly of World War 1.

Hooked by Diana Dove on Linen with hand-dyed wool #3 cut

24 Cent Cambrai –Bistre

When I was a teenager I told my father I was bored.  “Well”, he said, “I will find you something to do.”  He made me a hook, and an old fashioned frame; found a piece of burlap and gave me his old shirts. Then he told me to draw a design on burlap, so I drew 5 stars. He showed me how to put up loops and hook. I left home and it wasn’t finished but he finished it.

 Years later we brought a farm and started sheep farming.  Well, what do you do with wool besides knitting it? You can hook it and make beautiful rugs/mats. I have been hooking for the last 25 years, from using re-cycling t-shirts, wool yarn to wool flannel cut in wide to fine cuts.

 The stamp mats were hooked in a fine # 3 cut and in monochrome colours which I hadn’t done before but I enjoyed hooking them.

The “Trail of the Caribou Issue” 24 Cambrai was hooked in memory of my Grandfather, Captain Patrick Austin who was in the 1 World War in the Vetinary  Corps of the British Army.  He wasn’t attached to any single battle but looked after the injured horses on all the battle fields of France. 

Hooked by Diana Dove in hand-dyed wool yarn

1928 \ Publicity Issue – Heart’s Content 146

The 1928 and 1929-31 Publicity Issues are also known as the Newfoundland-Labrador Issues.  In 1927 the British Privy Council had finally established the boundary between Labrador and Quebec.  The following year when the Newfoundland government was in the midst of creating a new stamp to promote tourism, it was decided to include a map stamp that included Labrador and some of the more spectacular and noteworthy buildings and scenery across Newfoundland and Labrador.  These included Labrador’s most spectacular natural landmark, Grand Falls (not to be mistaken with the current city of Grand Falls); the ferry, Caribou; the Newfoundland Bullet; the Newfoundland Hotel; Cabot Tower; Lester’s Field; and Heart’s Content plus others.  These stamps were printed by Whitehead, Morris & Co. of London.

In 1929 the series was reissued and printed by Messrs John Dickenson & Co.  When Whitehead, Morris & Co. refused to hand over the plates, new engraving were made which resulted in some differences.  In the Hearts Content stamp, there was an extra-large “S” in Hearts and the shoreline reflections/ shadows are much more distinct.

Hooked by Glenda Meehan on burlap with hand-dyed wool fabric in # 5 cut

1 Cent Resources Issue (Codfish) – Green

 The original resources issue of 1932 consisted of 12 stamps, some of these portrayed the colony’s natural resources:  minerals, fish, timber and wildlife. 

The stamps portraying resources were codfish (black and green), caribou, Corner Brook Mill, Salmon leaping falls, a Newfoundland Dog, a Seal Pup, Cape Race Beacon,  Bell Island, the Sealing Fleet, and the Sailing Fleet.

Glenda Meehan chose to hook the 1 Cent Green Codfish which was in the original release in 1932.

1933 Labrador Air Mail

 In 1931 the first regular air mail stamps were issued for use on mail going to northern Newfoundland regions, Canada, and overseas.  A second issue of five denominations to meet increased volume of Air Mail going to Labrador and to sealing and fishing fleets off shore.

1933 5 Cent “Put to Flight” – Reddish Brown

I bought my first kit to hook in 1977, but never finished it until 1990.  Then I never hooked again until 2004.  Since then, I have hooked over 100 pieces, some floor mats, some wall hangings, and some smaller pieces, trivets, coasters, etc.  I prefer to hook for the floor, as they are very useful, and wear well.

Most of my work is done in wool, some wool yarn, like Briggs and Little 2-ply, but more are hooked with new hand-dyed wool fabric.  It gives me the most pleasing results.  Using protein dyes, I find I can get any colour needed to meet my requirements.

The Newfoundland stamp that I chose to hook is one from the airplane series.  Since I was born and raised in Gander, the airport and airplane traffic was really a large part of my early life.  It is natural for me to select any stamp from that group of designs.  This stamp is hooked with hand-dyed wool on a linen backing, matching the design and colours as near as possible to the original 1933 5₵ stamp.

A few of my mats have received recognition:

  • Wind and Waves: Honourable Mention in the NL Arts and Letters competition
  • Northern Flicker: Finalist in the 2014 “Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs”
  • Hudson Bomber: Camper’s Choice Award – RHGNL
  • Fetching Cod – A Story Mat: Viewer’s Choice Award – RHGNS (Nova Scotia)

Hooked by Diane Warren on Linen with hand-dyed wool flannel in #3 cut

1933 10 Cent “Land of Heart’s Delight” – Yellow Orange

For Bio see 4 Cent  “Trail of the Caribou 1919”

I hooked the Stamp, Land of Heart’s Delight from 1933 since I now live in Heart’s Delight although the stamp itself is one of the five denominations issued to meet the increased volume of Air Mail going to Labrador and to sealing and fishing fleets off short.

Hooked by Marilyn Moore on burlap with hand-dyed wool yarn

1933 Sir Humphrey Gilbert Issue

5 Cent Token – Violet

1933 marked the 350th Anniversary of the annexation of Newfoundland for England by Sir Humphrey Gilbert.  In 1593 Gilbert had, in a ceremony in St. John’s, officially claimed England’s first overseas territory.  Unfortunately the ceremonial sod never reached England because Gilbert’s ship went down on the return voyage.

This 5 cent stamp portrays an Anchor token given to Gilbert by Elizabeth 1.  Doreen Newhook chose this stamp because her son works on boats and this will be a gift for him.

Hooked by Doreen Newhook on burlap with hand-dyed wool yarn

1941-1949 Second Resources Issue

24 Cent Bell Island – Blue

Reprinting of the First Resources Issue (1 cent-48cents) continued throughout the war years and beyond, but after the Perkins, Bacon & Co. facility in London was damaged by bombing, printing had to be subcontracting. Waterlow & Sons continued to provide the necessary stamps. For some of the Second Resources stamps the original dies were used. For others Nenew dies were created or original dies re-engraved.

Hooked by Eileen Kavanagh on rug warp with multi-fibres

1947 John Cabot Anniversary

5 Cent Cabot on the Matthew – Rose Violet

The last stamp issued by Newfoundland before the colony became a province of Canada in 1949 was issued on June 24, 1947 to commemorate the 450th Anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery in 1497.  John Cabot on the Matthew looking toward Cape Bonavista.

Jennifer chose this stamp for her husband who is looking forward to putting it on the wall.

Hooked by Jennifer Archer on linen with hand-dyed wool

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